PhysCon 2016 was held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Hotel in November. Fifteen physics majors and three faculty members attended the conference. The Quadrennial Physics Congress (PhysCon) brings together physics students, alumni and faculty for three days of professional development workshops and networking. Attendees are able to meet physics students from across the U.S., learn about graduate programs and research opportunities, present their own research, attend lectures presented by renowned physicists, and visit iconic scientific venues. This year's venues included the California Academy of Sciences, the Computer History Museum, Google X and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford.
Nikolaos Dokmetzoglou '17, won the OSA Poster Award for Theoretical/Computation Physics. This award goes to the poster that uses mathematical and computational frameworks to understand and expand the knowledge of particles, forces, space-time and the universe.
Collin Epstein '18, said one of the highlights of the conference was a lecture presented by Neil Turok of the Perimeter Institute. "The best lecture was given by Dr. Turok. He spoke on a new theory concerning the beginning and overall structure of the universe in a quite compelling and entertaining manner." Collin also said he found the poster session to be a very valuable experience. "I appreciated the opportunity to practice presenting work in general and welcomed the opportunity to disseminate my research beyond the scope of Davidson. I learned a lot about gravitational waves - how they're formed, how they propagate, how they can (and can't) be detected and what they mean for the future of astrophysics."
Ricky Davidson '19, also found the conference a tremendous benefit. "For example, one general theme this year seemed to be going out and breaking the barriers of one's own interests and to resist the temptation to become specialized in a single field while actively neglecting all other fields. Whether discussing pulsars with Jocelyn Bell Burnell or life after a Nobel Prize with Eric Cornell, this theme seemed ever-present and for good reason." Ricky also felt the conference would "continue to affect how one approaches their Physics education both as a career and as a hobby."
The students and faculty are very grateful for the generosity of the Clark Ross Davidson Research Initiative, Larry Cain and Associate Dean, Verna Case for making this fun and educational trip possible.